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Well done Linda! The leisure sickness that I so diligently tried to avoid struck me big time yesterday morning and now I'm having a cold and fever. I am sad that I'm not running around doing fun things but instead sticking to my bed talking over the phone (so no bacteria can transmit) and reading Readly. Why is this happening just as I am starting my holidays??
It's finally time for some summer adventures with my Lieblingsmensch! On the plate: a trip to Berlin, island hopping in Greece and moving into a castle! Definitely the best way to spend the last weeks of my twenties!
Btw, if you haven't discovered Readly yet you should! It's an app you download to your phone which has all kind of magazines. From having felt "isolated" from topical (non political) magazines, I'm finally having a whole world opening up and it only takes virtual space.
I hope I recover on time for our trip to Berlin on Saturday, though... that's when I need to be on top of the game :-)
Catches my philosophy perfectly at the moment, the upcoming move in August is my fifth one in six years. But I really really hope that after this I will at least not need to move home for a really long time! I will keep moving in other ways though, like opening up to new places, friends, sports etc. :-)
In exactly a month we’re moving in together , my Lieblingsmensch and I. And I just can’t wait until we’re living in our very own house , with a blooming garden and terrace where we can have delicious barbeques!
But by moving in together comes much more than only moving your belongings to a new place. It’s about deciding what stays and what goes, making a common budget and getting mentally prepared to have a common household, compromising and of course starting a new chapter in life that I am sure will be totally wonderful.
We have already hired a cleaning lady, so that is already out of our way (I just can’t wait until she starts and I don’t have to spend precious time and energy cleaning the whole place any longer).
The planning, coordination, stress and money out flow is steadily ongoing. And yes, we do have different approaches to things, but the EU slogan in United in Diversity, so I rather embrace it.
For me moving in together will be a new chapter in life (also for myto be able to do that
A few pieces of advice to consider before making the move:
- Have negotiation rounds on what goes and what stays. For us it is not so tough to blend two households together, because our new house is spacious and we have more or less the same taste when it comes to interior design. In any case, make sure to decide what you’re keeping/selling/giving away/throwing away before moving. It will not only give you a fresh start (and more space) it will also save you energy and money.
- Decide together what you will keep and get rid of, and bear in mind that you need to be willing to compromise. You can not have it all your way, while your partner also needs to understand that you are really attached to some things and that there must be a way to give those objects a place in your shared home. Be respectful and sensitive to each other’s emotional attachment to some objects. (In my case I will have to give up my princess styled bed…. That’s part of the compromise, but it’s definitely worth it).
- Measure the walls of the new place as well as the furniture you have decided to keep/buy. This will not only make the actual move smoother – it will also make sure that there is actual space for everything without your new home looking cramped.
- Open a common bank account to which both of you pay in a certain sum every month and from which all the common expenses are paid. It will make your life so much smoother.
- The perfect apartment/house to let don’t last long. The first one we were scheduled to visit was already gone before our appointment. But don't worry, it led to something even better. Don’t only rely on (sometimes poorly taken) pictures, but your feeling when visiting the place. Imagine yourselves living there. Can you see that happen? If yes, act fast while at the same time have "the talk" making sure that you both have the same feeling.
- Start collection boxes/packing/dismantling furniture on time. It takes longer than you think and saves you a lot of stress.
Note to myself – Keep calm and keep moving – everything will fall into place eventually. :-D
Normally I don't have the time and energy to read books during the semesters. It's too much to read at work, so when I get home I either just want to read a magazine like the Economist, Time or something totally non-political like Lonely Planet Traveller, Food to Love, Elle or Women's Health (I am reading it with some moral doubts though, because it has inspiring articles about health, sports and wellness, but I don't understand why the models need to be posing on the front page super photoshopped and in tiny bikinis when they should be wearing sport clothes).
But then one day a book was given to me, Kaledjoskop, written by my very talented colleague Pernilla Jourde . And all of a sudden I had my perfect spring term book in my hands! Its engaging selections of 20 short stories, depicting diverse couples and friends in the 20 arrondissements of Paris, made it a perfect piece of literature that I could read a chapter of every now and then before falling asleep.
I lived in Paris for a summer, and have visited it several times after that, so it was a pure pleasure to be taken through the different quarters and getting to know the different characters, all portrayed with a very vivid and precise language, that I really admire. I was definitely not as brave as the main character in the book when living there, but I still recognized the city and it's particularities.
I can definitely recommend you toget a copy of this book (that is, if you speak Swedish, it is unfortunate not translated to any other languages yet) and I look very forward to soon be reading the follow up taking place in Brussels! (Please Pernilla, please do write it! :-)
Good relationships don't just happen. They take time, patience and two people who truly want to be together.
A few corner stones that I find crucial in a loving relationship and that I've reflected extra on now before we move in together:
- Adore each other. I am together with someone that I'm super proud of, and who I'm sure feels the same about me.
- Be best friends.
- Cuddle - it relieves stress.
- Dream about your future together. I do it all the time. It's scary to admit it, because what if my dreams won't come true? But I believe they will, it feels like it. And actually, at the moment I'm dreaming my life and living my dream.
- Encourage each other. It's not a competition.
- Hug daily.
- Inspire each other to be your best. It will make both of you grow and it's such an amazing feeling.
- Joke daily.
- Kiss often.
- Love unconditionally. Because love is not supposed to be hard, but easy.
- Never stop dating each other. For example, I love preparing myself for going out with my Lieblingsmensch now, just as much as I did when we started dating.
- Open up to each other.
- Compliment each other often.
- Forgive often and say "I'm sorry". Having arguments is normal and nothing to be scared of. Not having them would lead to a lot of secrets. But it's important to close the argument, apologise and leave it there.
- Play and have fun.
- Be active together.
- Stay in touch through the day.
- Talk about your feelings.
- Understand each other's perspectives.
- Express your love in actions.
- Give each other alone time regularly. Because a healthy relationship doesn't require you to sacrifice your friends, dreams or hobbies. We're still free, not in prison.
Just four more days and then I am off for three weeks! For many of us the run-up to the holidays is like a marathon, which in many cases leads to starting the holidays with the so called "leisure-sickness". I have had it several times, and it is not how I like to spend my first days of well-deserved holidays.
The facts are: Stress hormones help us stay healthy when working towards the clock. And when we finally put down the guard the adrenaline drops and leaves our immune system open for attack.
So what I have been doing last week and will be doing lately is to give my co-workers and myself early deadlines, to decrease last minute stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed, and also to work from home one of the days - giving myself a calmer setting and more flexibility. Not to forget, leaving office on time for a session at the gym with lots of time for stretching - it has a totally calming and harmonious effect on me actually. My strategy has worked so far and hopefully I can switch off and unwind properly on Thursday evening at 5.30 pm!
With a smartphone that all have sharp cameras and social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, not to forget the memorable photobooks that at least I love to edit and print, it is easier than ever to capture and share our travel photos, depicting the journey and experience in pictures. But digitization also leads to tougher competition in capturing people's attention, and not taking a thousands of pictures of more or less the same thing, only because the storage is indefinite.
Here is how to improve your travel photos that goes both with an advanced camera and a smart phone:
- The first picture I take is rarely the best one. In order to get the most out of a place I want to capture I have a good look around and try to take it in. Which story do I want the picture to tell? Move around and look at the site from different angles.
- Analyse - can I get some motion into the picture to make it come alive? I often ask the person I am taking a picture of to walk towards me/from me or crossing a street, for example, to get a more natural pose.
- Think about the light. The best pictures are normally taken on slightly cloudier days when the contrast isn't as harsh between sun and shadow, or of course, in the morning or late afternoon when the light is softer.
- Pay attention to the details. When I was still a video journalist I was taught to take pictures that are showing the full site (wide picture), then getting a bit closer to a medium format and then focusing on the details. That gives you cohesive story.
- Focus on the real experience, and let the pictures be a bonus. You don't need to capture every given moment, that will just ruin the trip and provoke too much pressure. Only take pictures that you really, really want to memorise.
- Plan ahead to decide when it makes sense to bring the heavy DSLR camera and when it works just as good with your handy smartphone.
- Take the time to learn your equipment before leaving. Spend a few hours with your DSLR to refreshen your memory, but do it as well with your smart phone and different editing apps that are available to enhance the picture when needed. It will save you lots of time when being on site and not knowing how to manage the camera the way you want.
One of the most annoying things that can happen when traveling is to have to stand in line for precious hours, in order to get in to one of the must-sees. Or in the worse case, to miss out on it because there are no more tickets available for the day you're there. It has happened to me quite often recently, like when being in London or Barcelona.
But I have learnt from it. With a little bit of planning and inside knowledge, it's possible to get it all. Here is how:
- I normally spend a few minutes the evening before or during breakfast the same day at least, to check out the websites.
- The most popular sights in Europe have online booking systems nowadays, where you can guarantee your admission at a specific time of the day. Ah, it is a great feeling to walk passed the huge line and straight into the sight. I like to keep the flexibility and spontaneity when being on holidays, still, so I make sure to only book one "fixed" visit per day.
- Should you show up without any ticket, then it is still faster to buy one online on your phone (roaming fees are abolished in the EU nowadays) at skip the line.
- If you know you will be visiting a lot of sights where entrance tickets are required, consider getting a sightseeing pass. It is normally much cheaper and it also makes you pass the line. I did it in New York.
- Some sights are best enjoyed through a guided tour. While it might be a bit more expensive than just a ticket, the stories and expertise of your guide surely makes sure the site comes alive.
- Figure out if there are other entrances. The very visited Le Louvre in Paris and the Pyramid site in Cairo are among those where a side entrance a little bit further saves you hours of queuing.